In Sacramento County's fourth straight year of budget cuts, the Board of Supervisors still found plenty to celebrate in 2011.
Supervisors dined on $230-a-plate gourmet dinners at the Kitchen Restaurant, enjoyed VIP seats at the California Capital Airshow and listened to the Sacramento Music Festival, all free of charge.
Those are some of the gifts supervisors disclosed in economic statements for last year. The Public Eye reviewed the state-required disclosure statements for the 20 county supervisors in the capital region and found Sacramento County supervisors received far more gifts than their counterparts in Yolo, El Dorado and Placer counties.
Sacramento County supervisors received an average of $1,480 worth of gifts last year, compared to an average of $235 for supervisors in the three other counties, the reports show.
Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan reported that she received $2,322 worth of gifts last year, the highest total on the board. Supervisor Susan Peters reported $1,552, the second-highest total. Don Nottoli reported the lowest total, $655.
Candidates challenging MacGlashan and Peters in the June election say supervisors shouldn't accept gifts from people with business before the board.
"It might create a conflict of interest," said teacher Gary Blenner, who is running against MacGlashan. "It sounds like payback for a job well done."
Attorney Jeff Kravitz, who is running against Peters on an Occupy Wall Street platform with Blenner, says the gifts show how business is done in the county.
MacGlashan said she sees nothing inappropriate with the gifts she received. She said they typically involve community events that she attends as a representative of the Board of Supervisors, of which she was chairwoman last year.
Peters also said she doesn't see a conflict of interest. She said most of the gifts she received were tickets to civic events put on by nonprofit groups.
But people with business before the board gave many of the gifts to supervisors, including last year's party to celebrate the new Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport.
The party was held at the Kitchen Restaurant, a critically acclaimed dining spot known for its dramatic food preparation.
Dinners for four of the five board members were paid by Corgan and Associates, which helped design the terminal, and Turner Construction Co., which helped build it, records show. The Board of Supervisors awarded a $73 million contract to Corgan and Associates and a $287 million contract to Turner Construction Co.
Brent Kelley of Corgan Associates said the dinner was paid at the suggestion of someone at Turner as a way to celebrate a "momentous occasion" and not as a thank you for board support.
Peters did not attend the airport celebration. However, she did receive gifts from other people with business before the board.
She received a $149 dinner from the office of Gregory Thatch, a lawyer who represents Angelo G. Tsakopoulos and other developers.
She also picked up $130 worth of tickets to the annual barbecue held by Sacramento Regional Builders, which advocates for policy issues on behalf of developers.